A Realtor, an engineer and a CEO buy a bar, embark on larger real estate venture

Insider Louisville 10/21/2015

Three well-known Louisville business people have purchased this long-time Germantown bar. | Courtesy of Jefferson County PVA

There is no punchline to the headline, just a story about how a new Louisville partnership was created.

The Realtor is Gant Hill, president and principal broker for Gant Hill & Associates. The engineer (and former ballerina) is Amelia Gandara, director of commercialization and engagement for Greater Louisville Inc.’s entrepreneurial arm EnterpriseCorp.

And the executive is Alex Frommeyer, founder and CEO of dental tech company Beam Technologies.

The group has named itself Double Barrelled, a reference to the shotgun houses in Germantown and Louisville’s bourbon heritage, said Frommeyer, who acted as spokesman for the group. “It’s a little play on words.”

In its first move as an entity, the trio purchased a two-story building at 1151 Goss Ave. near Texas Avenue, for $215,000 from the owner of Pauly’s Schnitzelburg Pub, which operates out of the first floor. The second floor is apartments.

Frommeyer said he and Hill met through mutual contacts, and he was interested in getting into the property development game, particularly in Germantown where he moved Beam Technologies Louisville operations last year.

“That intersection I have been in love with personally since I moved into the building across the street,” Frommeyer said. And Germantown “is an increasingly vibrant neighborhood, and the demographics are changing in a really interesting way.”

Pauly’s is closing, and the 3,000-square-foot building will be renovated for a new first-floor retail or restaurant tenant. Frommeyer said they are in negotiations with a potential tenant, and the extent of the renovations will depend on the business that ends up there.

The goal is to make the building a landmark property in Germantown, Frommeyer said. It will act as “a notable, distinct introduction to Germantown” from Eastern Parkway.

Goss Avenue has the potential to be an important main drag in Louisville, he added.

Although Frommeyer, Gandara and Hill are the primary partners, some other prominent names also are involved — Dayna Neumann and Linda Ruffenach, co-founders of marketing firm Execuity, and Stephen Kertis, owner of marketing agency Kertis Creative.

And Double Barrelled is looking to invest in more than just the one property in Germantown.

“When Gant and I first started talking about a project, we really kept coming back to our mutual interest in these almost immediately suburban areas,” Frommeyer said.

Double Barrelled is looking for additional properties in neighborhoods that are “increasingly desirable for millennials,” including Butchertown, Irish Hill and, of course, Germantown. He said they hope to renovate buildings that will have a meaningful impact on the neighborhoods.

“We are also interested in working with other investors whether they are established people in the community like Gant, or millennials like Amelia and I,” Frommeyer said.

Most people don’t have millions to invest in community development.

“But they can get a group together to do something that they think is great for the neighborhood,” he said. “I see the future as a larger volume of people making smaller monetary contributions to more community-focused developments.”

The PVA has property assessed at 117,990, sales price $215,000.